Regular followers of this blog will already be familiar with Miranda Kate (aka Miranda Boers) from my sporadic attempts at her regular Mid Week Flash challenge. You may not know she is also a fantastic, genre-bending author with a string of dark and twisty novels under her belt. Miranda Kate’s Pool of Players, sequel to The Game, is out today (1st June 2021), and I convinced her to take some time out of her launch day to come have a chat about the book, her attitude to writing, and what her favourite dinosaur is…
V: What first inspired you to write? Have you always been a writer, or does something else drive you?
M: During teens years I’d write poetry as a way to express emotions. When I was 12 or 13 I wrote my first novel, a sci-fi that included my friends from my class. I only remember it being about a spaceship. Sadly it got lost somewhere in the many moves I made during my childhood.
By my late teens and early 20s I would write snippets, what would now be considered Flash Fiction. Odd scenes of things would come into my mind and I’d write them down. I’d often run out of words at around 500-800 words. I’ve still got an old satchel full of them.
I had a friend who read through my snippets and told me he wanted more. If it hadn’t been for him, Ed Fargnoli, and my ex-boyfriend, Mark Jordan, I would probably have never taken it any further.
So on some level I have always written, but I started out life wanting to be a film director/producer or working in TV. But after my first job working backstage on a West End production, operating a winch, wasn’t where I saw myself, I ended up being a secretary and writing became an outlet. It wasn’t until I had children and became a stay at home mum that I started to take it seriously.
Pool of Players is a sequel. Did you always plan to write a sequel to The Game? What inspired you to continue the story?
In a word: No. In its original form, (as it was written as a full novel called The Jester which I finished in 1999), it had more depth. But when I undertook a creative writing course in 2001, I realised it needed a LOT of work and shelved it. I dusted it off and picked over its bones and produced The Game from it.
I decided to do a sequel as readers wanted more, as they felt way too much was left unanswered. So I delved back in and got to know all the characters a little bit better, and came up with some background for them.
Is that the end of the story for these characters now, or could it grow into a trilogy?
Yes, it’s the end. The sequel provides that ending. It made my brain hurt to get some of the time travel pieces to work in a believable way, so I definitely don’t plan on returning to it. Plus I have another character Tricky who wants me to write her books – that will be a trilogy of dark paranormal fantasy.
You’re stranded on a desert island with the main characters from Pool of Players. How’s that working out for you?
As long as that doesn’t include The Jester, I’d be good to go. And if they can teach me to do what they can do, we won’t be stranded for long.
Who are your biggest influences and inspirations when it comes to writing?
Stephen King and James Herbert. Both write/wrote exceptional fiction, which was more than just horror. And when I discovered Clive Barker, he made me see how you can really push the envelope into what I call ‘the fantastic’.
How do you deal with the dreaded writer’s block?
I can’t honestly say I have experienced it. I have tons of ideas, but my trouble is not starting – procrastination. To me writer’s block is often due to something happening in your life that means you have to process it first before you can continue. Although I do think it can be hard to keep going and find your reason for writing. I’ve gone through those phases. Many of them are based in low self esteem and feeling like your writing’s not good enough. I ended up journaling about that sort of thing to resolve it.
I also run a writing challenge with a picture prompt, which keeps me producing fresh ideas and writing.
What piece of writing advice would you give your younger self?
Bum in seat, and write. Don’t talk about it, or daydream about it, just get on and do it. (I still tell myself this every day).
One of my biggest writing ambitions is to write an episode of Doctor Who. Do you have any secret writing dreams or ambitions you’d like to fulfil? What’s on your writing bucket list?
I’d love to write a book that gets made into a film and be involved in the making of the film – writing/casting/hanging about on set … a bit like JK Rowling (but without the fame or transphobia).
I’d love to write a book that would impact others so much it gets talked about on Morning TV show.
I’d love to be an honest bestseller. Bit like the success of The Martian by Andy Weir.
So what’s next for you, writing wise? Do you have more books in the planning stage?
I have the first draft of the first book of Tricky’s tales down. There will be three. I am writing the second this June, and hopefully the third will happen not long after. They will be dark paranormal fantasy. Tricky is a witch … of sorts, in a post apocalyptic world a couple of hundred years past the event. She works with energy from trees and is able to manipulate time. In her first book she comes up against Randolf Carter who runs her district and kicks her out of her cottage due to her gift.
I also have the seed of another story, similar to my psychological thriller, Sleep (under pen name M K Boers). But it’s early days yet.
My youngest is self isolating so a bonus question from him: What’s your favourite dinosaur? Apparently, it’s important.
I’m not huge dinosaur lover, on the whole, but I do like a Stegasaurus. I like the pieces on their back – makes them stand out from the crowd.
Miranda Kate writes novels, novellas and flash fiction, and is also a fantastic developmental editor. You can find out more about her books on her website or her blog and follow her on Facebook and twitter.